DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1590867
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Tracking On-Surface Chemistry with Atomic Precision

Peter H. Jacobse*a, b, Marc-Etienne Moreta, Robertus J. M. Klein Gebbinka, Ingmar Swartb
  • aOrganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, Universiteitsweg 99, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands   Email:
  • bCondensed Matter and Interfaces, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
We gratefully acknowledge funding by a NWO Graduate program and the Sector Plan Chemistry and Physics.
Further Information

Publication History

Received: 02 June 2017

Accepted after revision: 14 July 2017

Publication Date:
17 August 2017 (eFirst)


The field of on-surface synthesis has seen a tremendous development in the past decade as an exciting new methodology towards atomically well-defined nanostructures. A strong driving force in this respect is its inherent compatibility with scanning probe techniques, which allows one to ‘view’ the reactants and products at the single-molecule level. In this article, we review the ability of noncontact atomic force microscopy to study on-surface chemical reactions with atomic precision. We highlight recent advances in using noncontact atomic force microscopy to obtain mechanistic insight into reactions and focus on the recently elaborated mechanisms in the formation of different types of graphene nanoribbons.